The end of the blame game

On behalf of Attwaters Jameson Hill posted in Family Law on Thursday, August 20th, 2020

Ending a relationship is never easy and the reality is there is no right way to do it. As you head into an important life transition, there are always multiple factors to consider and rarely are things entirely straightforward. But, can there be a “good” way to separate amicably?

As it stands…

The current legal position is that divorce is based on the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage and there are five ways of proving this. This means that unless you can rely on a period of separation of two years or more, when issuing for divorce there is a reliance on one party placing blame on the other. Furthermore, it must be proven that because of one party’s behaviour, the other cannot reasonably be expected to live with them any longer.

The problem with the “blame game”, is that blame is often a tool used as a defence mechanism, or when we are in an offensive mode. If the starting position is to point fingers and determine who is the Respondent (or so-called guilty party), this can be counterproductive when trying to resolve and settle matrimonial matters in a non-confrontational way.

Following the widely published Supreme Court judgment in Owens v Owens [2018], the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 was finally passed by the House of Commons in June 2020.

Time for reform…

The campaign for reforming divorce proceedings has gone on for many years, with strong arguments being made for the system to be modernised and brought into the 21st century. This year we are finally seeing reform become reality, which will hopefully help improve relations between divorcing couples and civil partners seeking a dissolution.

No-fault divorce is expected to be introduced in autumn 2021. The aim is that this will remove the concept of fault from the divorce process and reduce conflict, which will enable couples to focus on issues in relation to finances, property, and children.

Without the need to play the blame game, the reform will remove unnecessary animosity that can be created, so that families can better move on with their lives.

How we can help…

To speak to one of our Family Law experts for guidance on all the options available to you, please contact us by email at familylaw@attwaters.co.uk or call 0330 221 8855.

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